It’s been some time in the making and while Cam’s had a string of world-class results, especially on the WSL World Qualifying Series, none have come close to giving Cam the feeling he had yesterday at the Pipeline!
This time last year Cam was on top of the WQS ratings courtesy of a rich vein of form that he struck while blitzing through the Aussie leg of the QS grind.
“I pretty much surf all those (QS) events so I could have a chance of making it into the Volcom Pipe Pro event.” Said Cam, who has been on the alternate list and watched from the beach for a few years as 3rd stand-in, but has never had the opportunity to slip on the jersey here.
But 2018 started a whole lot different for the man from South Carolina, not only did he get into the prestigious pipeline event – he went on another Cam-hot-streak and charged his way into the final, alongside Jamie O’Brien (former winner), Josh Moniz and Wesley Dantas.
To do that he had to slice his way through a stacked draw on finals day taking out a list of coveted pipe specialists in the process including Evan Valiere and Koa Smith, chargers Noa Deane and Joan Duru and eventual winner, Josh Moniz (who beat in his semi-final).
“This is something else.” Said Cam. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing... not to be all cheesy, but I’m having the time of my life”.
“I’ve seen my friends do well out here, Evan (Valiere) and Brett Barley and all the East Coast dudes like Balaram (Stack) are all so gnarly.”
“I’ve always seen them do it and I’ve wanted to do it so bad”.
And he wanted it so bad he made it all the way to the final of his first pipe event by ‘having fun, and getting barreled if the waves came to him.’ And he did it all day long on finals day, where his rhythm was ultimately cut short by two Hawaiians in the final – Moniz for the comeback win over Jamie O’Brien who scored a perfect 10 in the final but couldn’t lock in a second excellent score to shut the gate for the young south-sider.
Richards has been traveling to the North Shore for 6-7 years, but a proper wave at Pipe has always eluded him until now. "I still had never made a real Pipe wave, or Backdoor, and so that was a treat. I put in time out here for sure and caught a bunch of closeouts and spent my time, but those were definitely the best waves I've ever got out there period, hands down."
Cam managed some of the highest heat totals throughout the event but with only one decent backdoor nugget in the final, Cam had to settle for fourth place on the podium and a bunch of incredible memories... but by then the ‘damage’ had already been done... he’d already had the time of his life.
From everyone at Vissla – Congrats Cam!
Words by Brad Bricknell
Photo: WSL / Keoki